Aside from the navy, the last time I had a job was in 1984-1985. I was a 25-year-old college graduate working for a real estate syndicator. It was a small firm with three full-time employees and one part-timer. I routinely worked 60 to 80 hours a week for which I was paid $1800 per month. In the year my boss made $500,000 he paid me a bonus of $1500. Two weeks later I walked into his office and quit. He cried as he told me he had big plans for me, would make me a vice president (over whom, the only other full-timer? His wife was the part-timer).
Lest you think I bear a grudge against my former employer I assure you I do not. He taught me several valuable lessons:
- When you work for someone you have one client who controls your financial future, especially in the short term.
- It is unrealistic to expect an employer to look after your own interest better than you do.
- Often, titles are meaningless.
- Working long hours is no guarantee of success.
- Just because someone is generous in one area of his life does not mean he will be so in others.
I spent four months getting my real estate broker's license while I started my first business designing and selling t-shirts. One month later, on April 1, 1986, I started my own real estate company and never looked back. Though I began on April Fools Day, I learned, had failures and successes, lived through a bad recession, and ultimately prospered.
After twenty years drawing a salary, and having my company pay for medical benefits, a nice car, and fund a retirement plan, when I decided to join the navy I had a valuable asset to sell: my company. Had I stayed working for someone else, while I would have gotten the salary and some or all of the benefits, it is very unlikely I would have built any wealth.
While there are many challenges to being an entrepreneur, in these times of job uncertainty which is less risky: placing your financial future in the hands of one person and not building wealth or having many sources of income so that even if you lose one or two you can replace them and continue earning while building wealth?
Question – What is preventing you from starting your own business?
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